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Infotonics Center shows areas of research efforts

Inventions that could help with homeland security and help detect the early stages of cancer were highlighted this week by the Infotonics Technology Center Inc.
University Days, an annual review of Infotonics-sponsored university research, was held at the Lodge at Woodcliff Monday and Tuesday. Attendees included business leaders, scientists and federal representatives.
The center is collaborating with 18 universities across the state, Infotonics CEO David Smith said.
The Infotonics Center in Canandaigua is a cooperative effort among the private sector, state educational institutions and government. It employs 35 staffers. The center is expected to create 5,000 jobs by 2012.
Two projects showcased this week, both in their second stages of development, were the compact photonic explorer, or pill camera, and remote health monitoring system.
Representatives of government agencies also discussed current needs and challenges for the optics industry.
Infotonics has partnered with Mediphotonics Development Co. LLC, a subsidiary of New Jersey-based Mediscience Technology Corp., to develop the pill camera.
The ingestible pill stems from a combined effort from Infotonics-funded research at eight universities over the last two years, led by a team of researchers at City College at the City University of New York. It could provide a non-invasive means of cancer screening in the auto-digestive tract, researchers said.
Philippe Fauchet, from the University of Rochester, talked about work he and his colleagues are doing on remote health monitoring and biophotonic sensing of harmful pathogens and biowarfare agents.
Infotonics is working with Thermal Gradient, a local startup, on remote health monitoring by creating a prototype for DNA amplification, which is an integral part of nucleic acid based tests.
Robert Andosca, director of business development for the Boston-based IntelliSense Software Corp., spoke of the company’s work with Infotonics to develop micro-electro-mechanical systems and nanotechnology prototypes.
The company also is working with Infotonics on classes for undergraduate and professionals on microsystems, which are miniaturized systems that can control electrical, mechanical, optical and fluidic subsystems. The details are being worked out, and Andosca said the classes could be at the site in Canandaigua or offered remotely.
Those attending also learned of opportunities among researchers and the private sector.
Brian Bell, president of First Wave Technologies in Buffalo, said his company’s focus is bridging the gap between research and commercialization.
“We want to reach back into the lab,” said Bell, whose main focus is on biotechnology.
Other investors often want products that are closer to commercialization before they will contribute, he added. First Wave is interested in early-stage projects emerging from research labs and will provide a variety of skill sets, including management, financing, legal assistance and technical writing.
George Baaklini, a senior research scientist at the NASA Glenn Research Center, spoke of the federal agency’s vision and needs for space exploration, particularly in getting to Mars. Research conducted at local universities could be helpful to future space travel, Baaklini said.
He would welcome working with Infotonics and its partners, he said.
“I like what I’m seeing,” Baaklini said.
(adeckert@rbj.net / 585-546-8303)

11/19/04 (C) Rochester Business Journal


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